Throwing Towels not Balls
Young kids obviously struggle with hand-eye coordination. I have found that when setting up activities aimed at enhancing young kid's catching skills, using a loosely rolled up towel that is actually taped together allows for lots of soft edges and something for the kids to grab on to and grip. The tape helps to loosely bind the towel into a ball-like formation which is easy to throw and super easy to catch. They soon lose their fear of being hit by the ball and will start to lean into it as they try to catch it. Another added benefit is that it has no bounce, so will not jump off of their hands as they try to catch it. They quickly develop confidence in their abilities and, as their skills develop, you can tape up the towel a bit tighter each class. This activity works great with 3 and 4 year-olds. A great differentiation activity with some of the older students as well. Try it out.
Athletics requires a lot of determination, effort, and a will to succeed. The running events in track and field can take a lot out of the kids, especially in hot climates. We worked very hard to ensure that our students really understood the importance of pacing themselves in the longer distance races and it certainly paid off as we had a very good showing in these events today at the regional track and field meet at Northbridge International School in Phnom Penh. This meet was an excellent way to conclude our Athletics unit. We will follow up this event by doing final written reflections next week. Come back to visit next week to see some examples of our final assessment tasks in Athletics.
Peace and Conflict: PE integration
As our Athletics unit concludes tomorrow with the regional track and field meet held at Northbridge International School in Phnom Penh, we are well into the trenches, so to speak, with the planning of our next unit which is Movement to Music. We had met with all classroom teachers early on in the year to try to best align possible integration which requires flexibility at times as it is sometimes difficult to integrate based in the timing of unit. However, with a unit of inquiry such as "How we express ourselves" you do not want to miss out on such a great opportunity to integrate as it fits perfectly with any type of Movement to Music unit.
We are integrating at this point with two separate grade levels, Kindergarten/Gr1 & Grade 4/5. Many ideas have been bounced off of us by classroom teachers, but it is ultimately up to us how we feel we can best fit into this unit. The logistics of teaching PE, as we all know, are very different than teaching in the classroom. However, the challenge that presents itself is creating the best learning experiences possible considering the direction that the unit of inquiry takes within the classroom. This is especially true when single subject teachers are not a part of the organic process of creating the unit from ground up. It is obviously best to involve yourself early on in the unit. We
At this point, here is a very brief overview of our integration:
Main Focus: Students being able to express emotions and mood through the arts
PE focus: Dance: Introducing the students to a variety of music. Each piece of music with a different theme/mood
Main Focus: Peace and Conflict
PE focus: Exploring various forms of tribal dance
At this point, we know this is our connection, but as we dig deeper, we will come up with more meaningful connections. We have to allow for the students to initiate their own inquiry to see where this unit takes us..
Please share any ideas you may have regarding dance in PE.
What enduring concepts should the students walk away with when completing the Athletics unit. And what transdisciplinary skills should they have had a chance to work on?
In terms of transdisciplinary skills, we focused on:
Application: Making use of previously acquired knowledge in practical or new ways
Gross Motor Skills: Exhibiting skills in which groups of large muscles are used and the factor of strength is primary
Recording Data: Recording results
The enduring concepts that we wanted to focus on this unit were:
In the strand of Identity in the PSPE Scope and Sequence:
In the strand of Active Living:
Early Years Integration- PE and Art
In my "Examples of Integration" page, you can see an example of a stand alone integration with PE and Art. We have been preparing the Early Years students for their annual Sports Day which was held at ISPP on Thursday, Feb. 17th. About 4 weeks ago in PE, I began to introduce 'Road signs and symbols' to the children. I introduced 3 road signs per class and had the students run through various activities aimed at helping them not only to visually identify each road sign, but to also be able to apply each sign's meaning in variety of designed activities.
In Art class, the teacher, Kristin Anson, introduced different forms of transportation to the students. Kristin did a wonderful job in helping the students inquire into the various forms of transport and their main identifying features. This in itself took a couple of weeks for Kristin, but it led to the students having a working knowledge of different modes of transport and their main features. At this point, she brought large cardboard boxes into the classes and allowed them to create their own driving machines. And they created it! By week 5, they had created motorcycles with wings, tuk tuks, flying buses, cars that could turn into rockets, and simple trucks with 4 wheels. A true inquiry was at work and it was great to watch the process unfold.
By week 5, both Kristin and I had the Early Years students tune into the fact that they would be using these amazing contraptions to maneuver through a road course that would be set up for Sports Day. As mentioned in a previous blog, the director of our school, Barry Sutherland, would act as Mr. Policeman watching the students work their way through the road course and busting them when they broke the law. As the old song goes, "I fought the law and the law won", our fine cop was handing out fines left and right busily pulling the students over in their wacky contraptions. Barry even went to extraordinary lengths to have his own Cambodian police outfit done up at a local tailor's shop to assert a real presence which was a great touch. The students loved it! Enjoy the photos below...... There was a rubric that was done for each student assessing their understanding and application of road signs and symbols. Rubric will be uploaded soon. Please try this unit out, it's great!
The final week (week 6) of our Athletics unit culminated with the annual Sports Day held for grades K-5 today at our field where we had 27 stations set up for the students to rotate through depending on grade level. Kindergarten/Gr 1 rotated through 9 stations of throwing, jumping, and running and the grade 2-5 girls rotated through 9 stations as did the boys from grade 2-5.
During the past 6 weeks, we have had our students work on drills aimed at improving speed and endurance. As well, they also participated in numerous activities and games with the goal being to improve their skills related to jumping and throwing. We tried our best to create opportunities that allowed the students to inquire into the best ways to throw and jump for distance. Throughout the unit we stressed the importance of trying to achieve personal best results in all of the events that they participated in. Essentially, the most important thing was to improve upon their own results and worry less about how the others were doing. Naturally kids are competitive and want to beat their peers, but I think that we did well in helping them realize that the most important thing was to improve.
All results today were record on a small card pinned to their shirt. Next week as a final task, grades 2-5 will analyze their results by comparing Sports day results to the their results from earlier in the unit. Many of the students did indeed beat their personal best results from earlier in the unit.
As a final reflection, we will have a few of the classes use their results to create graphs in maths using the data collected from each week of the unit in order to determine which events they made the biggest improvements. Maths integration and Athletics go very well together. Pictures, examples of assessment, final reflections, and examples of graphs will be posted next week. Come back and visit this blog to check it out.
Personal, Social, Physical Education Strands: Identity, Active living, Interactions
In the guide 'Making the PYP Happen',(page 117) I have found that the related concepts within each of the three strands has helped me to open up more possibilities within my lessons. If you have a copy of 'Making the PYP Happen', have a look at the related concepts to see how they might fit into any of the units that you teach. I have provided the list of the related concepts below under each strand:
Strand #1: Identity
Related concepts to consider:
Autonomy, Character, Diversity, Ethnicity, Fulfillment, Gender, Heritage, Image, Initiative, Perseverance, Resilience, Self-Regulation, Sexuality, Spirituality, Trust
Strand #2: Active Living
Related concepts to consider:
Aesthetics, Biomechanics, Body Control, Body Form, Challenge, Competition, Energy, Flexibility, Flow, Growth, Goal Setting, Improvement, Leisure, Mastery, Overload, Physiology, Power, Rest, Spatial Awareness, Strength and Endurance, Stress
Related concepts to consider:
Belonging, Citizenship, Community, Conflict, Conformity, Control, Discrimination, Fair Play, Interdependence, Justice, Leadership, Peace, Preservation, Reparation, Safety, Stereotype, Team Work
Although you can easily find these related concepts on page 117 of the guide, I have included them in this blog because having a good look at them myself since the new PSPE scope and sequence came out last year has helped me to broaden the avenue I take within the lessons I teach. Some of these concepts may not seem to link to PE, but when I had a closer look at them, I found that everyone of the related concepts could fit within the program that I teach. It prompted many new ideas for discussion with the students and has allowed for more opportunity to vary the written reflection that I have my students complete on a regular basis.
This game originates in China with the idea being that the dragon's head must turn to get its own tail. Put the students in lines of 7 or 8. The leader of the line steps out and turns around facing the line. The aim of the game is for the leader to run around the line and they to catch the last person in the line. The kids in line must be connected by placing their hands on the shoulders or hips of the person ahead of them. The line must maneuver side to side in an effort to impede the path of the leader who is trying to catch the tail. Teamwork is essential. The leader has to run and change directions a number of times to throw the line out of sync if he/she is going to be successful in catching the tail. If the leader does catch the tail, they get to remain as leader. If they cannot, they join the line and the next person in line becomes the new leader. As the teacher, you need to set a reasonable time limit for the leader to try and catch the tail. In terms of safety, you must ensure that their is no physical contact. The leader obviously cannot charge through the pack.
Let's Start with the Heart!
Recording Data and Graph Creation in PE
Unit: Body Journeys: An inquiry into how exercise impacts the heart.
Objective: To teach the students how to take their own pulse in order to determine their resting heart rate, their maximum heart rate, and the recovery time needed for the heart rate to return to its resting rate.
What is the connection between the body’s heart rate and exercise?
How should we record the different levels of heart rate?
How should we graph the data recorded in PE?
This was a very successful lesson that I ran with my grade 4/5 classes in PE class. After some brief discussions on heart rate and exercise, we had the students practice finding their own pulse and the pulse of a peer. The different formulas that we used to determine beats/minute were:
A) Count pulse for 6 seconds and then take the number of beats and add a zero. For example, if they counted 9 beats in the 6 seconds they would add a zero to the 9 producing the result of 90 beats/minute. This was a quick way to determine heart rate
B) Count pulse for 15 seconds and then multiply by 4 to determine beats/minute. For example 22 beats in 15 seconds would result in a heart rate of 88beats/minute
C) Count pulse for 30 seconds and multiply by 2 to determine beats per minute.
This took roughly 15 minutes to introduce and to get the kids into the activity. At this point, we had them lie down on their backs and rest for 5 minutes and then proceeded to take their resting heart rates. Most of the students were between 80-95 beats per minute. They recorded their result as their resting heart rate.
Once they recorded this data, we had the students play a very active game for about 8-10 minutes and then had them take their heart rates again. They were surprised to see how much of a spike their was in the beat/minute. I would say that they range here was between 160-200 beats/minute. They recorded this data.
As a cool down we had them lie back down and every minute had them take their heart rates until they were at or very near their resting heart rates. The recovery time was the numbers of minutes needed for their heart rates to return to their resting rate. In most cases, the students were at or near their resting rates after 8-10 minutes.
These data sheets were brought back to their classroom teachers who had them create either bar or line graphs using the recorded results.
Our gymnastics unit officially concluded around the third week of January. However, as a way to celebrate what the students learned during the unit, we offered a chance for students to showcase their gymnastics skills at the elementary assembly held this morning on our campus. Over the last two weeks during lunch recess, we have been working to refine the skills of the students performing in today's assembly, making minor changes and ensuring that safe execution was of utmost importance. With 300 students and over a hundred parents watching, our entertaining gymnasts performed wonderfully and should be very proud of themselves for taking the risk to get up in front of such a large group to showcase what they had learned during the gymnastics unit. From star jumps, to knee tucks, pyramids, and flips, they did it all. We even had a teacher and parent run up to do a flip. Well done!! All of the students that took part will receive Learner Profile "Risk Taker" certificates along with a picture of themselves peforming which will be put into their Sportfolios.
KAUST Faculty, Pedagogical Coach. Presenter & Workshop Leader.IB Educator. #RunYourLife podcast host.